How to Spring Ahead: Fitness Edition
Put some spring in your step and start off on the right foot.
Spring is the time for a fresh start and new beginnings. Birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, and the sun is no longer a stranger in the sky. Around this time is when we begin to really worry about our summer bodies, yet the beautiful weather makes it hard to talk ourselves into spending the day in the gym. You don’t have to allow that be an excuse to avoid getting in a great workout though. Studies show that outdoor physical activity had a 50 percent greater positive effect on mental health than going to the gym and was associated with greater decrease in tension, confusion, anger, and depression when compared to indoor activity. So when you’re itching to get in a good workout but don’t want to miss out on the sunshine, turn the park into your gym! There are tons of exercises you can do using a park playground as gym equipment – all you have to do is get creative. Don’t fall behind on achieving your summer body just because you don’t want to miss out on a beautiful day. Here’s How to Spring Ahead: Fitness Edition, so you can start making fitness strides right away!
EXERCISES FOR THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Park Bench Push-Ups
Simple push-ups can be done in three different variations by using a park bench. First, put your feet on the bench, hands on the ground, and do 10 push-ups this way. Then switch it up. Put your hands on the bench, feet on the ground, and do 10 push-ups that way. End with 10 regular push-ups with both your hands and feet on the ground. Complete this set 3 times.
With your back facing a tree, get on all fours so that your feet are a few feet away from the trunk. Place your forearms on the ground with your elbows underneath your shoulders. Straighten your legs one at a time and walk your feet up the tree until your body is parallel to the ground. Hold this position for 10 seconds, and then rest for 10 seconds. Complete this 3 times.
Monkey Bar Pull-Ups
A great way to switch up normal pull-ups is to simply get a change of scenery. Go to your local park and use the monkey bars to your advantage. Do 10 standard pull-ups with your palms facing you. Next, try 10 pull-ups with your palms facing away from you. Complete this set 2 times.
Sit on a swing, either a regular one or a tire swing, and hold on to the chains on each side. Keeping your back straight, use your core to lean back slightly. Keeping your legs straight, lift them both into the air until your body forms a “v” shape. Open your legs wide, then bring them together and cross the left leg over the right. Spread them wide again, and cross them right over left. Repeat this 10 times and do 3 sets.
Park Bench Hops
Sit on the edge of a park bench. Jump in the air as high as you can, throwing your arms up as you go, and then return to a seated position. Do as many as you can in a minute. If you want to make it harder, jump in the air using only one leg. Do as many as you can in a minute and then switch legs.
Find a set of stairs that aren’t slippery and are big enough to fit your entire foot. Using your right leg only, swing your arms up, using the momentum to jump and land on the next stair. Do this ten times and then switch legs. Want to challenge yourself? Try to do this using both legs, but skipping a step. Complete this set 2 times.
With your back against a tree, bend your legs until you’re in a fully seated position – knees bent at a 90-degree angle and directly above your ankles. Using the strength of your legs with your back against the tree, hold this position for as long as you can. Repeat this 3 times.
Stand directly in front of a park bench with your hands on your hips. Starting with your right foot, plant it firmly on the bench and step up until you’re standing on the bench with all your weight on your right leg. Reverse your step and bring your left leg back down to the ground, followed by your right foot. Repeat this for a minute and then switch to the opposite leg.
Park Bench Lunges
Stand about 1 foot away from a bench, facing away from it. Rest the top of your left foot on the bench. Place your hands on your hips and bend your right knee until your leg is at a 90-degree angle, knee above your ankle. Pause in this position, and then push through your right heel as you stand back up. Repeat this 10 times, and then switch legs. Do this set 3 times.
Tire Swing Knee Tucks
Start in a kneeling position one to two feet away from the swing. With your weight on your hands, stretch one leg at a time out behind you and rest it on the seat of the swing – you’ll be in a plank position with your feet on the swing. Using your abs, pull your knees in towards your chest, lifting your butt towards the sky but keeping your shoulders stacked above your wrists. Slowly return your legs back to their original position, keeping it as controlled as possible. Repeat this move 10 times, and do 3 sets.
OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES TO BREAK A SWEAT
Grab a partner, a racquet, and head over to your local tennis court. You can work on your signature serve while saying goodbye to unwanted calories.
Want a good workout with a great view? Find out some areas near you that offer great hills and perfect trails. A workout is a little more bearable with a great view.
The best exercises are the ones that are so much fun you don’t even realize you’re getting in a good workout. Round up a group of friends and get a game of volleyball going. If the day is super warm, bring your game to the beach.
Bike riding is a great way to sneak in a good leg workout, and the best part is – you can do it almost everywhere. Whether you’re on the beach boardwalk, a more intense route such as in the mountains, or just taking a casual ride in your town, bike riding is a great way to get an exercise in the great outdoors.
Rock climbing is a great exercise for your entire body. It engages your arms, legs, and your core as well. Rock climbing gives you a surge of adrenaline which can help you to preform better – just make sure you take the necessary precautions before climbing!
Frisbee is a simple yet fun activity that will have you working out without even realizing it! Next time you want to get in some physical activity without actually working out, grab a group of friends and head over to the park for a game of Frisbee.